Being a Coeliac – whats it like where you are?

Where do I start? I was diagnosed as a Coeliac late in life(2013 to be precise at the age of 57). At the time, it was a bit overwhelming for me and my family. The first time shopping was a nightmare as all the labels had to be read! I am pleased to say that since 2013, the situation with regard to the availability of Gluten Free products has improved greatly(in large part due to the efforts of Coeliac UK ) . Eating Gluten Free at home is easy now and I am pleased to say the occurrences of ‘being glutened’ are thankfully few and far between.

Eating out is where the challenge lies. The UK government DID bring out legislation to help (and it has), but the response of restuarants big and small is pretty much across the spectrum. Restauarant staff Coeliac awareness is much better. What lets many eatries down is how they deal with Coeliacs.

The more enlightened ones(Bella Italia, Pizza Express, Handmade Burger Company, to name but a few) have updated their menus to clearly indicate which options are available to Coeliacs, some have even gained certification from Coeliac UK. Others seem to consider this too much effort and their response is to drop a huge folder of information on my lap and leave it to me to decipher what I can eat, based on their use of icons etc. Not good enough. When I go out to eat, I want to be able to pick something Gluten Free without making a drama of it.Too often I take the easy option as I cant be bothered to take the time to read through all their matierial. I do have a good idea whats ‘Safe’ after 3 years (although can still be caught out).

Hotels are much the same. I stayed at one recently that looked very promising. Gluten Free cereal, bread for toast, but oh dear, ask for Gluten Free sausages  with a cooked breakfast?

I have had some very positive side effects from being Gluten Free. I feel the best I have every felt health-wise. Asthma that has plagued me since birth has gone completely.  I have started experimenting with drinking normal beer to see what happens . Nothing untoward so far. Easy steps.

So, in the UK, its getting easier all the time. If we can just crack eating out… How is it where YOU are? I’d be very interested to hear. Thanks for reading.

 

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2 Years a Coeliac

Time for an update on my Gluten Free journey. I was diagnosed as a Coeliac on December 6th, 2013. My previous update can be read here(Earlier Coeliac Article). I am in the process of having a 2 year review (Endoscopy done, blood test and session with consultant due in early 2016). It’s looking good, it seems that the damage done has healed well.

I have to say I feel the best I have EVER felt. So much so, that my lifelong Asthma has disappeared – which I can only attribute to becoming Gluten Free. When I realised what had happened and polled a couple of Facebook groups I belonged to, others seem to have seen positive benefits to their overall health. Admittedly, some had seen the development of some issues also, but it has been a great experience for me.

It was a shock at first when I considered all the things I could no longer eat or drink– the most disappointing was the removal of real ale! But, overall, things have never been better (mostly). More and more Gluten Free products are becoming available(including Beer/Lager – YAY), although the prices are still high. Restaurants are now legally obliged to indicate GF offerings on their menus.

I do occasionally get ‘Glutened’, i.e. eat something containing Gluten, but thankfully it’s happening less and less. I am finding that now I am Gluten Free, being ‘Glutened’ is not something I want to happen as its impact is more severe now than it used to be.

Coeliac UK (UK Coeliac Charity) are doing a great job of raising awareness as well as alerting when products have challenges. One of the mainstream supermarkets in the UK actually included Gluten Free offerings in their Christmas advertising.

I have finally mastered the art of Gluten Free Yorkshire Puddings, Stuffing and Dumplings… now if I could just come up with a foolproof recipe for bread, I’d make a fortune.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy the break over the festive season and a happy new year.

So… a long overdue update – Just WHERE am I on my Gluten Free Journey?

I hadn’t realised how long its been since I last wrote an update. Too long. So.. quick summary for those who didn’t catch the earlier posts…

I was diagnosed with Coeliacs disease in December last year after a long and at one point life-threatening spell which lasted the best part of a year. That’s history(a lot more to it than that but hey, I’m not here to bore you -intentionally anyway)!

Where am I at? I joined the UK Charity for Coeliacs (Coeliacs UK) who are very organised and have just launched a phone app which is invaluable. If you are a coeliac and in the UK I would thoroughly recommend joining. I discovered its a lot more common that I thought(evidence two events I attended recently, one specifically for Coeliacs and the other a general AllergyShow at Olympia in London – both were packed out(although to be honest I’m still not sure where having a vibrating bed or doing Yoga helps allergies but I will be pleased to be corrected). 

Both shows have shown me just how good things are (in the UK anyway – would love to hear from any coeliac sufferers overseas). The need for Gluten Free groceries is very much mainstream – with an ever growing list of options for food (and drink). Restaurants are becoming more aware – even hotels – evidence my recent trip to Dublin!. As I am a diagnosed Coeliac (sounds awful doesn’t it?) I can get some help via the UK National Health Service which is great. I guess my one ‘whinge’ (well it is monday after all) is that for the moment, Gluten free variants of food and drink are more expensive than the non-Gluten free versions(I was going to say normal, but normal is a state of mind lol). I AM enjoying researching the various Gluten Free beers and Lagers (expensive and small bottles – in the main) as I used to really enjoy ‘REAL ALE’.

So, personally, from a situation where at my lowest I had lost a total of 42 pounds in weight(3 stones to those that know the imperial weights and measures, or 19 Kilos) I am now in the pleasant situation of being told I need to lose a few pounds, Result!

Coeliacs is Genetic. If you have it, you have it and it wont get better. This brings me to the most recent news. My daughter is now being tested as she is exhibiting classic signs of Coeliacs, She is 18. On the positive side, even if she does have it (and it looks like she might) – its only a change of diet and the benefits of going Gluten Free in that situation are SO life-changing.

I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for reading.